Abhidhamma in Daily Life (by Ashin Janakabhivamsa)

by Ashin Janakabhivamsa | 66,666 words

English translation of "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" by Professor Ko Lay. Revised by Sayadaw U Silananda, International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon, 1999...

Factor 8 - Vitakka (thought, thinking, initial application of the mind on the object)

Vitakka is thinking or planning. The three evil vitakkas are:

  1. Kama vitakka (thinking about sensual pleasures)
  2. Byapada vitakka (thinking about hatred)
  3. Vihimsa vitakka (thinking about harming or ill-treating others)

The three good vitakkas are:

  1. Nekkhamma vitakka (thinking about renunciation)
  2. Abyapada vitakka (thinking about loving-kindness)
  3. Avihimsa vitakka (thinking about compassion)

Kamma vitakka and Nekkhamma vitakka

When thinking is related to getting and enjoyment of sensual pleasure such as physical beauty, sweet sound, etc.; or when thinking about getting material wealth and how to get them, you have kamma vitakka, associated with lobha (greed).

But if your thoughts are concerned with renunciation, to becomes a recluse or a Bhikkhu, to give charity, to observe the Uposatha precepts, to meditate, etc; they belong to nekkhamma vitakka because you are planning to escape from the clutch of greed.

Byapada vitakka and Abyapada vitakka

Byapada means ill will to destroy others, or to kill others. Thoughts based on dosa are called byapada vitakka. The direct opposite of ill will is loving kindness (mettá). Thoughts of wishing them well and planning to help them constitute abyapaa vitakka.

Vihimsa vitakka and Avihimsa vitakka

Vihimsa means ill will (dosa) to persecute, to do harm or to torture others. Motivated by dosa, when one thinks of or plans to persecute or kill or cause harm by any means, it is called vihimsa vitakka. On the other hand avihimsa means karuna (compassion or pity) which is the opposite of dosa. Thinking of delivering others from suffering is avihimsa vitakka. One can clearly see that vihimsa is akusala and avihimsa is kusala.

Therefore we all should suppress the three immoral vittakas and promote the three moral ones.

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